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  CSPAN    U.S. House of Representatives    News  News/Business. Live coverage  
   of House proceedings. New. (Stereo)  

    October 31, 2013
    12:00 - 2:00pm EDT  

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unacceptable. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator coburn and then i'll wrap it up. >> mr. jordan, can you explain to me the difference in the fieldwork contract and the supply services contract you have with uscis? one. wo, are contractors -- are these contractors from the same company? >> i can answer the first part. yes, contractors perform background investigations, yes, contractors can perform quality reviews on those investigations but only government employees make a determination as to whether to grant security clearance to someone. >> but my question is, is it the same company that's validating the work of their colleagues doing the investigation? is that correct? >> i'd have to defer to o.p.m. >> no.
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the companies that are doing the investigations have an only fwation under the contract to also do a quality review but then we do another quality review and the purpose of their quality review is we would like them to catch errors before the file gets to us but we do a quality review as well. >> so o.p.m. is the final validator of the completeness of the investigation? >> to some extent. i think another thing that validates the completeness of the investigation, it gets sent to an adjudicator who may want more information. ultimately it's a collaborative effort. they may send something back to us but we are the arbiter of whether we have provided an adequate investigative product. >> is every investigation validated by you? >> every investigation is reviewed for quality. >> by o.p.m.? >> yes. >> one other question, then i'll submit the rest of my questions.
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here's a fund where you charge agencies for this. there's $2 billion in it. has it ever been audited? >> i've told it has not by the o.i.g. because they told us they don't have the resources which is why we're supporting their request to draw from the revoing fund to give to them the resources they need to do that. > thank you. >> i suspect you'll have to provide a number of anns for the record, but thank you for your answers so far today. today at 12:00, we have a new senator being sworn in and we'll start voting beginning around 10 minutes after 12:00. we'll wrap up here probably about 12:0678 the last question i'll ask -- 12:20. the last question i'll ask each
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of you, sometimes i say, when you see something awful has happened and you hope some good will come of it. sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. a few things could be much worse than -- few things could be much worse than losing a loved one. ones in as lost loved navy yard not far from here. they would like to know something good will come out of something that was awful for them. i think the american people feel that way as well. one of the last things i'll ask you to do is to reflect on what you have said here today or heard here today and give those families some assurance that out of the tragedy they've suffered through, some good will come and what that might be. so just, last comment. >> i just want to follow up, when you say o.p.m. validates, do you use a contractor to value
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tate? >> -- to value dade. >> -- validate. >> federal employees. they do a review but we do one as well. >> so it's federal employees who do a check on the information that comes in? >> yes. >> i want to come back to, i think, a question was maybe asked by senator ayotte and senator highcamp and i want to give you a chance to respond to it. i think it dealt with using social media and the continuous evaluation program. could you give us some thoughts on that briefly, please? >> yes, senator. what i was referring to there is, we are seeking to provide as much of the comprehensive capabilities as possible in the overall investigation of the individual. the more information we can gain, the more enlightened the
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decision can be on whether or not to grant the access to classify or access to a sensitive position. one of the obvious sources, potential sources of information is social media. publicly available electronic information. what i refer to in terms of the research with the idea -- was the idea that we need to look at both what possible sources of information are out there, which ones would be of most benefit to adjudicatively relevant information and how do we do that in the best way to protect the personal rights of the individual as well as the veracity and the coverage of the united states government? >> ok, thank you. a couple of questions, a series of questions, if i could, for youing before i ask the questions let me just make a short statement, but when an investigator fails to discover or disclose crucial information during a background
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investigation, that's an obvious failure. what could be more troubling is the report that efforts by agencies to measure and improve the quality of investigations have fallen short. the office of personnel management is supposed to review the investigative file and make sure it meets minimum standards. the agency responsible for granting security clearance also has a responsibility to review the file. yet when g.a.o. looked into what o.p.m. and others were doing in 2008 to review the quality of background investigations, it found almost 90% of the reports that d.o.d. was using to evaluate an applicant for a security clearance were missing required documentation. three questions. first, how often were agencies making a security clearance decision without having all of the required information? and what motive did agencies have for doing this? that's the first question.
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>> the answer is, we do not know ageause g.a.o. performed this sthoifs completeness of the documentation in 2006 and 2009. so we do not know outside of d.o.d. the naffings you're asking for. this is the type of oversight that we're saying is needed. >> all right. second question. what type of information is missing? can you give us some idea? >> employment verification and discussions with the employers. social references, especially the number of social references in order to determine someone's carblingt. completeness of the application which should be the very first step as we noted before which should be done before you move forward. >> thank you. the third question, has g.a.o. had an opportunity to take another look at the issue since 2008? if you have, has there been any noted improvement? >> we have continued to monitor
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o.p.m.'s actions to implement ea the recommendation we made at that time. as i noted in 2010, we were very encouraged that there was agreement among o.m.b., o.p.m., d.o.d. and the d.m.i. as far as metic reck -- metrics of the quality of the investigation. there was somewhat of a plan to move forward beyond that. we have continued to monitor but at this time, all we know is that that plan has fallen apart. >> ok, thank you. y next question would be for mr. pieletti and mr. lewis. according to some news reports, the company that hired alexis, a company called the experts, had phoned his hotel room in rhode island in august saying he was unstable and that the company was bringing him home. according to news reports, the
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human resources director of question the experts talked to the mother of aaron alexis on august 9 and she informed the company of her son's past pair noid behavior and state head probably needed therapy. i would ask first of all if the company had hired alexis had become aware of the increasingly troubled behavior, do you think the contractor should have a duty to report the behavior to the department of defense? and did they report it? >> senator, in this particular case that you just described, in terms of a national security perspective, it behaves everyone to report any unusual activity they see, whether it be a colleague, a co-worker or a subordinate that works for you. >> and the second half of my question was, did they report it? >> to the best of my knowledge, sir, it was reported to the
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mother, as you described there. i am not positive whether or not they reported it to d.o.d. >> i ask both you and mr. lewis to answer that question for the record. i'll give mr. lewis a chance to answer it right now. >> the contractor is required to report any derogatory information coming to their attention regarding a cleared employee. the defense security service has done a followup review at the experts and they've determined that the company was aware of the indications of mental instability on mr. alexis' part and they failed to report that information. >> all right, thank you. mr. lewis, stay with this area of questioning, what do you think should be the role of d.o.d. contractors in monitoring the suitability of their employees to hold a clearance?
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>> this is part and parcel of their responsibilities as a cleared contractor. as a prerequisite for getting a company cleared, they must execute a security agreement and part of that security agreement is the national industrial security program operating manual. they have been required to do this literally for decades. this is an established process and contractors must execute that responsibility. >> ok, thank you. i ask you to think about a question, i'll give you a little time to think about it, what can you say to those who lost their loved ones, their husbands, their wives, their moms and dads, brother, sister what can you say to them that might give them some comfort to know that out of a horrible tragedy in their lives, our country's life,
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what can we say today to make them feel some good is going to come out of this? mr. jordan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would first say we owe the survivors of this tragedy and the american people a comprehensive and thoughtful review. what information do we look at? when do we review people in the suitability and security clearance process? how can we improve on all these aspects? the review i talked will be done collaboratively. the reviews, the department of defense reviews and the overarch regular view which all our agencies are involved in. we will act on any improvements as quickly as possible. where there are gaps, we will close them. where there were failures we'll correct them. if i was one of the families of the victims, i wouldn't just want to hear about prophecies and proceed yiffers, i would
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have some concerns that there's a blue ribbon type creation as opposed to actual improvements to prevent this happening again. i would just say to them, i live near the navy yard. on the morning of september 16, my wife and my 2-year-old son were playing in a park across the street when they were cleared by police as the trang diwas unfolding in the navy yard. we lost a husband of a senior member of our acquisition community. i would tell them that getting this right is personal to me and we will to everything we can to improve our processes and everything under our power to make sure nothing like this happens again. >> good, thank you. >> of course i would echo what joe said. our hearts were broken that day for the families and for the folks we lost, the federal employees and the contractors and i think in addition to what joe said, this is getting attention at the highest levels. the president is the one that ordered that review and i am sure and i know that he feels very strongly in the same way that joe just articulated that
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this was an awful loss and we have to do whatever we can to prevent it from happening again. >> thank you. mr. pierletti. >> i would like to echo the comments of ms. kaplan and mr. jordan. there are no words to describe this loss. a gashe teed commitment that we'll continue to work to find the solution. this is an evolutionary process as we find gaps in our processes and the way we do our business, we will continue to utilize those to come up with the best possible process to improve how we do our business on behalf of the u.s. government as well as the u.s. citizens. >> thank you, sir.
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>> in addition to what my fellow witnesses have had to say, i would just add that we need to make a commitment and effectively ensure that what happens between investigations is something that is tracked. we've had people -- we vet people, we trust them with our classified information and access to sensitive facilities and we have an obligation to ensure that we're looking at people between investigations and taking appropriate corrective action as needed. >> thank you. >> i would say it's unfortunate that the tragedies we saw at the navy yard focuses attention on this process but we have seen the dedicated leadership from these executive branch agencies in the past and when they make their minds up to take on a problem and solve it they do it. and now is the time for actions, not just review.
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>> a lot of folks in the room know that the general accountability office, g.a.o., is regarded as a watchdog. an arm of the legislative branch of our government to be a watchdog for really the whole expansion of the federal government a huge job. we have a lot of people to do it, probably not enough. but we need your can't continued vigilance to help us do our job and that's the oversight role. i think probably the most two most quoted things ronald reagan ever said, one, he said to mr. gorbachev, mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall, at the berlin walling and it was torn down. he also used to say when he was trying to negotiate, reductions in nuclear arms with the soviet union, he would say, trust but verify.
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all of us on this committee, our staffs as well, trust you. we trust the good will of the folks with whom you work, who are responsible for carrying through on these reforms to make sure it's not just words but actions to back it up. o we are trustful. but we're going to be doing some verification along the way. ms. kaplan, as you go off to your next assignment, we wish you well. and we again appreciate the time you've given being with us today. en more, we appreciate the help of those who follow you and those who make sure that these words, that this promise is a promise we keep. that having been said this hearing is adjourned. thanks so much.
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> we want to remind you, we also covered a house hearing on the navy yard shooting yesterday. both this hearing and that hearing from yesterday in our video library at c-span.org. the hearing wraps up, senators making their way to the floor. there's a vote under way a procedural vote on the senate floor, live look here. it's on the cloture vote on moving forward with the nomination of mel watt, the former congressman from north carolina, to be next director of the federal housing finance agency that overseas fannie mae and freddie mac. according to politico, his vote is still a few votes short of the threshold to overcome a filibuster. just a few minutes ago they swore in the newest member of the senate, cory booker of new ersey, he's filling the seat
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lautenberg by frank who passed away. the makeup of the senate is now 53 democrats, 45 republicans, two independents. you can continue to watch the vote under way in the senate over on c-span2. here on c-span, we'll be taking you live in just a bit to hear from president obama, he's speaking today at the commerce department's investment summit. he'll be speaking along with ommerce secretary penny pr izker. we'll have that live for you. starting off the day the keynote speaker was treasury secretary jack lue who talked about the state of the global economy, citing improvement and the need to increase demand for economic growth.
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>> thank you, penny, for that kind introduction. it's great to be here with you this morning. i want to thank the commerce department for hosting the first select u.s.a. summit. i'm here with a simple message. we do not take investment in the united states for granted. we know it's important for jobs, important for our businesses and it's important for our prosperity. in our increasingly global economy, the united states cannot settle for the status quo. that's why president obama made fueling america's competitiveness the cornerstone of his economic policies. our economy is the largers in the world and looking to the future, we need to make it stronger by improving worker training and education, upgrading our infrastructure, and growing our manufacturing base. the truth is, there are additional things we can add and do to make america even stronger as a magnet for investment. before talking about what make
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ours economy such an attractive place to invest, and what we plan to do to make it even more atrabtive, i'd like to start by saying a few words about the state of the world economy. there's broad evidence of recovery across the global landscape. economic conditions, particularly in advanced economies, have improved, but there's no doubt that global command is not where it needs to be. in too many countries, unemployment levels are unacceptably high, especially among young people. as i said before, leaders around the world should make strengthening demand and creating jobs a priority to unlock growth that's robust, sustainable, and balanced. looking at europe, it seems the long recession is slowly fading even as critical steps have been taken to restore financial stability. this is good news since europe is i want fwral to the global economy. nevertheless, growth in europe remains weaking with domestic demand particularly apeople ex. it's critical that surplus countries contribute more to
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demand as deficit countries undergo adjustment. europe must also press forward on measures to address high unemployment and the formation of a strong banking union. after years of economic weakness and depolice station, japan appears to be turning an economic corner. economic growth has improved and policymakers have demonstrated a commitment to economic transition. this will require a careful balancing of fiscal policy and reforms that increase domestic demand. economic growth across many emerging market economies remains positive but has slowed somewhat. the slowdown is primarily because post-crisis stimulus has waned. the demand for exports has fallen. credit conditions have tightened. while these head winds will put pressure on some emerging economies going forward, most emerging markets have strengthened their institutions and frameworks over the past decade and this will help increase their ability to adjust to the shifts in capital flows. in china, the world's second largest economy, policymakers
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have also made substantial commitments to reform. growth there continues to remain relatively robust but there's a question of thousand to sustain robust rates of growth over the medium turn as the chinese economy rebalances toward domestic consumption and away from domestic investments and exports. at the same time, china needs to increase the flexibility of its exchange rate regime and permit more access to capital and more open access to markets. the success of this transation matters to the united states, to asian countries and the global economy. china is currently conducting a series of high-level meetings designed to reform their agenda and we look forward to see how that evolves in the coming weeks. as we meet this morning, there really has never been another time when the world economy has been so interconnected. it's clear that what happens across the global economic landscape matters to us here at home. our prosperity grows when other countries succeed. economic challenges abroad
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reduce economic activity here in the united states. and we have a stake in each other's future. we need the world to sustain greater growth and the world continues to need the united states to be the backbone of a stable global economy. now when you look at the united states, while we still have work to do to speed up growth and create more jobs, we have been making significant progress. and one of the reasons we have been making progress is because of the -- is because the core of our economy is resilient. to fully appreciate that resilience, it's important to remember how much things have changed since the dark days of 2008. five years ago, our economy was hit by a devastating financial crisis that helped trigger the worst recession since the great depression. our banks were on the bridge, our housing market was in trouble and our auto industry was sliding toward the abyss. in fact, in the months before president obama was sworn into office, we were shedding roughly 800,000 jobs a month and our
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economy was shrinking at an .3% annual rate. there was real concern that the united states economy would not bounce back. but it did, thanks to the tenacity of the american people, the determination of the private sector, and the bold, decisive actions taken across government. right away the president moved to pull our economy out of the recession. he worked to put out the financial fires, stabilize the automakers and jump start growth. in addition he pursued policies to fuel our economy into the future that meant investing in education and infrastructure, fixing a health care system that was broken, creating new rules so our financial system works better for consumers and investors, and locking in lower taxes for 98% of all americans. and lower bare year -- lowering baferiers so entrepreneurs and businesses can innovate, grow, and hire. because of these measures we're moving in the right direction. the positive signs are reel. -- real. since 2009 our economy has been
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expanding. over the past 43 months, private employers have added 7.6 million jobs. in fact, businesses have added more than two million jobs over the last year alone. and the end of this year, and the beginning of next year, show signs of further progress. the auto industry is growing again, manufacturing has increased. the global market has improved. american companies liked ford and apple are starting to move operations back to the united states. we sell more products made in america to the rest of the world than ever before. the cost of health care is growing at the slowest rate in years. and our deficits are half of what they were when the president took office. so we have seen the united states economy make a turn around. our economy is actually recovered faster than any other advanced economy. just as it's becoming more expensive and more difficult to do business in other parts of the world, our economy is becoming more competitive and more attractive. business leaders from around the world tell me all the time that
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there's no other place where they would rather do business. on my very first trip as treasury secretary, i visited a plant in georgia and saw firsthand american workers producing electronic equipment to be added to construction machinery for export to china. the plant is owned and operated by siemens, the german company, and it's one of 130 facilities they run throughout the united states. they've invested more than $125 million bel in the united states over the past decade and invests about $1 billion every year in research here. when asked about it, they said, america produces better than anyone. the heart of our ability to produce better than anyone is our people. our entrepreneurs are the most determined and innovative. at the same time, we're the largest single market in the world. we have a deep infrastructure
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that connect this is vast market through pipelines and roads and bridges. our universities attract the best and brightest minds from around the globe. on top of that, we're experiencing an energy revolution in america. that'd united states is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in more than two decades. we produce more oil at home than we have in nearly 25 years and more natural gas than any time in history. this transformation is driving down energy costs for consumers and businesses. our increase in energy production is not limited to oil and ghass. energy and renewable resources like wind and solar doubled in the president's first term and we will continue to make investments in these cutting edge technologies. so our economy has made progress and that progress has made the united states an even better place to invest. but i want to underscore for everyone here that we are not satisfied with the current pace of job creation and economic growth. we know that there are things
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that we can do to invest in american skills, american innovation, and american infrastructure. so that the united states remains the most attractive place around the globe to do business. taking action in these areas is good for growth and it's good for job creation. while the process create unnecessary anxiety, congress proved it can still do what is needed when it came together on a bipartisan basis just two weeks ago to reopen our government and raise the statutory debt limit. it's now time for congress to make a pro-growth, pro-jobs ageneral ka the focal point. this will strengthen our economy at home and further cement the united states as the best place to invest, hire, and grow businesses. let me point to the key areas we we can make a difference going forward. first as democrats and republicans meet to produce a government, they have an opportunity to forge an agreement focused on restoring our long-term fiscal health while making targeted investments to grow our economy. they should do this -- use this occasion to replace the corrosive, across the board cuts
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known as sequestration with fair and balanced deficit reduction policies. it's crucial that we close wasteful tax loopholes, eliminate costs where it makes sense and use some of the resources we free up to invest in a few key areas like manufacturing, infrastructure and education. second, congress should finish comprehensive immigration reform and send a bill to the president for his signature. the senate has already passed bipartisan legislation and it's awaiting passage in the house of representatives. this immigration legislation would strengthen our borders, chart a path to earned citizenship and increase economic growth by more than $1 trillion. it drives growth by attracting highly skilled scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to our country. it will bring greater investment in the united states from beyond our shores, create new job opportunities, ignite new consumer demand and spark business activity. it would do all of this while increasing payroll tax revenue that would reduce our deficit
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and put social security and medicare in a more stable footing. another bipartisan bill that can strengthen our economy is the farm bill. bipartisan legislation that's passed the senate is designed to protect america's farmers, ranchers and provide a safety net for america's most vulnerable children. the farm bill conferees have an opportunity to work together to develop a bipartisan package to promote economic growth and job creation while ensure that needy children are well-nourished. over the years, democrats and republicans have come together to foster economic growth, job creation and investment. we can see that bipartisan bo gress as we work together to reform how we tax businesses while upgrading our infrastructure to meet the economic needs of the future. let me be clear. the president is committed to business tax reform. this will help create and retain good jobs in the united states. the fact is, the united states now has one of the highest statutory corporate tax rates in the world. but as high as that rate is, it
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only raises about an average amount of revenue as a share of g.d.p. compared to other advanced economies. our code is also full of special interest tax breaks and loopholes while hurting others that are investing in the united states. we can do better. and we can do this by broadening the tax base and lowering tax rates in a way that doesn't add a dime to the federal deficit. the president put forward the details of his tax reform and pleadmead clear his commitment to business tax reform paired with an infrastructure package paid for with one-time revenue. we have a real opportunity ahead to seize the mantol tax reform and establish a simpler, fairer reform competitive tax in the yeats. they share much in common with the approach the president has put forward. there's no reason we can't start with the substantial policy areas we agree on and come together to find common ground.
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in addition to reforming our tax system, we must finish the work of creating new trade agreements that are free and fair. they must open up markets for america's businesses and must add to the millions of american jobs that are currently supported by trade. as congress comes together in support of trade deals we'll help expand the biggest, -- the biggest mark place in the global economy and rere-inforce the position to invest and export. to that end, we're working to complete a transpacific partnership. this will boost exports and level the playing field in the asia pacific. i want to point out that the united states welcomes investment from around the world, from every type of intrep prize and doctor -- enterprise and all sectors. we are scommitted to mane taining the most open and transparent investment environment. our process for reviewing national security inch cakeses of foreign investment in the united states focuses solely on
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national security considerations and reviews are pleated within a period of one to three months. so as we press forward, we know where we need to focus our efforts. the prioritiest just outlined are clear and doable. they amount to real solutions that will make a real difference for our economy now and in the future. and i'd like to close by thanking the commerce department for hosting this summit, as well as everyone in this room for coming today. america has always been known as the land of opportunity. a place where you can make it if you try. and have no doubt, opportunity in the united states is very much alive and well. it's alive for our workers, it's alive for our businesses, and it's alive for all of you who invest here. thank you very much. [applause] >> commerce secretary penny
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pritzger and president obama will be speaking to the group about 1:20 eastern, we'll have live coverage of that. in the senate, the nomination of former north carolina congressman mel watts to head the housing finance agency was blocked. they needed of votes to invoke cloture and move forward. next up, the senate to vote on moving forward with the nomination of patricia millett to be on the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia. you can follow that vote now on c-span . we also cover -- on c-span2. we also covered several hearings on capitol hill. in the senate, the top diplomat in syria testified about the ongoing conflict in syria and the transfer of the country's chemical weapons over to international control. senator bob corker, the ranking republican on the committee, criticized the obama dministration's support of the
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opposition and asked the ambassador if satisfied with the strategy? >> are you satisfied with the strategy we have in syria? when you talk to people on the ground and in refugee camps, do you feel satisfied with the strategies -- strategy we have with these people we left out on a limb and told them we are going to support their efforts against this regime and against al qaeda, do you feel good about what our country is doing with the opposition right now to allow them to have some kind of say-so in the future of this country? >> senator, there isn't a person on my team at the state department who doesn't feel frustrated, frustrated by the syrian problem in general but i have to say, we do provide support to help them against the regime. we provide a lot of support. you may discount what we do but them. ers to
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they they -- they thank us for what we do. would they like more? of course. in addition, the work we're doing to help activists and political people that are trying to hold things together in places like aleppo and rocca just to keep the hospitals running, to keep electricity in the hospitals, to provide clean water, it matters hugely to them. are there greater needs? of course there are. but our resources ourselves are not unlimited and so we are doing what we can with what we have. but the problem itself is tragic, i know people myself who have been killed. it's tragic. and we want to help them. but ultimately, senator, syrians must fix this problem and ultimately, senator, it's going to require them to sit down at a table, the sooner they start, the better.
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but in the meantime, we will keep helping the opposition, senator. >> i think our help to the opposition has been an embarrassment. and i find it appalling that you would sit here and act as if we are doing the things we said we would do. three months ago, six months ago, nine months ago. the london 11 has to look at us as one of the most feckless nations they have ever dealt with. for you to say that these trucks are being delivered today is laughable. i mean, these things have been committed months ago. i just got to tell you, i respect your care for syria, i really do, i could not be more embarrassed at the way our nation has let people, civilians, down on the ground the way we have. >> all of that hearing available later in our program schedule
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and any time online in our video library at c-span.org. coming up in about 40 minutes, we'll take you live to the commerce department for their investment summit. the commerce secretary speaking. president obama speaking. that should get under way around 1:20 eastern. we'll have it live for you. in the meantime part of this morning's washington journal. host: we're talking about the history of your publication, let's talk about how "mother jones" got started and how you came up with the name. >> i wasn't there when it happened. it was back in the 1970's. it was some progressive journalists and activists, wanted to put together a
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magazine, a media entity, that would dosome real kick-ass reporting that they saw not happening in the mainstream media. and they wanted the emphasis to be on investigations, not on ranting and raving andage cease and so on. -- and analysis and so on. they put together the magazine, it starteds as monthly. it was breaking news about political corruption, money and politics, they've been some of our core issues ever since. he name was named after mary joe harris, called herself mother jones, who was a labor leader and activist she called herself a hell raiser, back in the turn of the century, 100 years ago or so. they had the project all plotted out and they were stuck on a name. they were about to do a mass mailing to get subscribers, which is how you did it back in
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those days. they were ready to go and needed a name. someone at the table suggested this, they all said yeah, great name. that's what happened. host: what's the mission of "mother jones" today? guest: our tagline is smart, fearless journalism. that's what -- that's what we aim to do again and again. we want to illuminate, educate, engage on subject matters we think are important. money and politics, climate change, the state of politics, the influence and power in america. and like i said, the early mission was, you know, we don't -- we are reporting driven. if you look behind me, i don't know what you can see out there, but we have 10 reporters in this bureau alone, we have reporters in other places as well and you know well, don't focus on commentary, we don't focus on a lot of political analysis, we do some of that, but mainly we
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focus on reporting stories we find are important, they can be things that are in the news and we report them out in a way that's unique and different than what's happening in the rest of the media, or they can be things that are totally different but they're quite important, that are not getting the attention that we believe they should be getting. >> what do you think the status of investigative journalism is today for magazines? are there too many magazines that focus on opinion writing? >> i think there's a lot less investigative reporting in what i call the mainstream media. i use that phrase not in a pejorative sense, call it established media, but their budgets have been squeezed tremendously over the last 10 years and they don't devote all the resources they should. in the meantime, i see the rise of nonprofit journalism and i should say, "mother jones" is a nonprofit entity. if you give us money, you get a
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ittle bit of a a tax writeoff. there's the center for investigative reporting and things like that trying to fell the gap. overall, our media landscape is being driven increasingly by the news of the moment, whether it's celebrity news or political news, real news, and that there's a lot less time and energy and resources available for doing deep dives or for looking at things that are not in the media spotlight. that are not in front of us as we're all on our twitter-like hamster wheel. host: if view verse questions or comments for david corn, the bureau chief of "mother jones" he lines are open. we'll be talking to him for about the next 40 minutes or so
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on "washington journal." mr. corn as we lay out those lines, i want to talk to you about how you prefer to describe your magazine. is it progressive? is liberal a term? and what do you say to folks who call your magazine as it's listed on your frequently asked pinko s page, a lefto, rag? >> i say they're wrong. we are a progressive driven organization. the way i look at it, i tend to see our political values, our overarching values as determining more of what we cover. and how we look at the world and what subjects, what areas we decide to focus on. because we don't do a lot of ommentary, as i noted. the political value, biases of people who work here and reporters are not as important because we really are about
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degreing up new facts. i really think the important thing is telling people things they don't know. with the rise of the internet and the growth of blogging and tweeting and everything else, you know, getting opinion, getting views, is really easy these days. an opinion is like a backside, everyone has one. getting well developed stories that require reporting and require time and expertise is very difficult and we get most of our traffic online when we produce a story that people say, oh, my god, look at this, i've got to read this because i want to know the facts here. that's where it comes in. in those sort of stories, whether you're a conservative or liberal doesn't realy matter as much. but i -- we don't hide the fact that we consider ourselves a
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progressive organization and that shapes the way we see our mission. host: let's talk about your latest piece this morning on mother jones' website. ted cruz's dad calls u.s. a christian nation, says obama should go, quote, back to kenya. tell us about this piece. >> this story came about because i spent a couple of days looking at videos of rafael cruz, who is the 74 or 5-year-old father of senator ted cruz. rafael cruz is an evangelical pastoring lives in texas, an immigrant from cuba, used to be a businessman before he turned toward preaching. i found a lot of excessive or extreme rhetoric in videos of him speaking at republican and tea party groups. people may say, wait a second, you can't blame the son for the rhetoric or sins of the father and that's usually the case, i wouldn't want to be held
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accountable for what my parents had to say but there's one big exception here. ted cruz uses his father extensively as a campaign surrogate. he campaigns with him during his campaign in 2012, his senate campaign in texas, he sent rafael cruz to republican groups, to tea party groups, to speak on his behalf. so it's like your campaign manager or running mate or somebody made these comments. so i found a lot of, you know, to me surprising in how extreme they were remarks that rafael cruz was making in which he says things leek, the united states is a christian nation, he doesn't even use the judeo christian nation that a lot of evangelicals like to use he said that president barack obama, this is a quote is destroying the concept of god. he accuses the president of destroying the concept of god he says that, you know, voters
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should send obama back to kenya, so it sounds like a birther there. he's giving sermons in which he says women should not be the spiritual leaders of their homes and families, that's a job only for men, women do it only if the men don't do it. he is ar dently against gay rights but he calls fway rights a conspiracy to make government your god. i don't quite follow the logic there but that's what he said. he calls the president repeatedly a marxist, compares him to fidel castro. mean, i list a lot of this -- i show the videos. these all come from videos. there's no question that these are the sort of things that pastor cruz, ted cruz's dad, has been saying on bhf of his son when appearing at republican and tea party events. >> did you talk to senator cruz's office about these statements? did they give you a statement? >> i spent a lot of time with
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them yesterday in which they said, pastor cruz does not speak for the senator, when in fact he does. you can look at these videos and say, i'm here on behalf of my son, he's asked me to thank you and get you out there to work for his campaign. and they also say that -- they hadn't seen the article but in the remark, and i put it in the article, they said i was mischaracterizing pastor cruz's remarks, i don't know how they could say that without seing the article. but it's not mischaracterized, it's him saying he believes the united states is a crip nature and we should send barack obama back to kenya. i don't know how you mischaracterize that. when he says obama believes god should be destroyed or can the government -- or that government should be your god. enge as a campaign -- if a campaign person said this, a press secretary said this, senator ted cruz still should explain whether he believes the
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things his father is saying and respond to them rather than just sort of say, you know, that i'm mischaracterizing them. but readers and viewers, i encourage them to go to motherjones.com site and watch this, they tone have to take my word for it, they can watch rafael cruz, you know, talk about obama as a kenyan marxist who wants to destroy god. host: we're talking to david corn, the washington bureau chief of "mother jones," we're spotlighting "mother jones" today on washington journal. host: go ahead. >> i mean, i take that as a compliment, thank you. i have to say, though, that over the years, "mother jones" has
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broken lots of stories. people who are old enough to remember this, may recall the exploding pinto story. "mother jones" came up with documents showing that the ford motor company knew, knew that the pinto card was prone to explosion -- car was prone to explosions from the gas tank in certain collisions and chose not to do anything about it because it was too expensive to do that and they'd rather pay off the lawsuits. "mother jones" has long been in the forefront of american independent journalism but i'm happy to hear that tweet say that they believe the magazine has become more established. if i can use that word. host: here's jim's question on twitter. guest: free republic is a website where people post things, it's not journalism.
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i don't see the comparison there. but listen, people are free to draw whatever conclusions they want. if you look at the story i did last year on mitt romney's 47% remark, i mean, as i say, i was covering the campaign, i bring my own perspective to how i cover things but that story literally, literally spoke for itself. so that person doesn't want to, you know, take that into account because of, you know, i'm known to be a progressive, i can't do anything about that. but i read the "national review," the.daily caller," i judge their journalism on the basis of the facts they put forward and sometimes i find them lacking but sometimes i say, that's really a good piece of reporting. robert costa has done great reporting on the government shutdown. i think, you know, the viewer here is missing out if that's his or her attitude. host: we're taking calls and comments as we talk to david
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corn. we'll start with lydia from woodstock, illinois, on our line for independents. you're on with david corn. caller: good morning. thank you, i appreciate being on halloween it's significant because grover, as an 11-year-old, came up with the taxpayer protection pledge. my theory is that he wants government to be small enough to because he's htub linus sits nus, waiting for the great pump ken, who is grover nor quest. i would like you to explain what role grover norquist has in washington, d.c. and why there is a verb in washington, d.c.,
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and that verb is groverize. host: mr. corn. guest: ok, well there are a lot of charles schultz peanuts questions in that -- references in that question. but the heart of it is who is grover norquist and why pay attention to him. he's been a republican strategist an lobbyist as well for a deck -- for decades here in washington. he created the americans for tax reform group which as has gotten house republicans particularly, senate republicans too, especially congressional candidates to pledge not to raise any taxes. he put the fear of grover, at least, into them when it comes to considering raising revenues to do something like deficits. and we've heard repeatedly from, you know, centrists and moderate republics that the republican party is too in hock to this anti-tax pledge.
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and that gets in the way of coming up with maybe a grand bargain, that the president would like to see in terms of dealing with entitlements and tax revenues to deal with long-term debt issues. and it really has put a bit of a monkey wrench into the work here's which is what grover wants to do. he has said, and the caller referred to this, he wants to decrease the size of government so it becomes so small you can drown it in the bathtub. i don't know if he wants to drown people who are receiving student loans, who are receiving , you know, medicare or beneficiaries of cancer research, people who are getting food stamps, kids in head start, are they all in this bathtub? will they all be drowned too? it's a pretty glib phrase but as we learned recently with the shutdown and as we see repeatedly, there are a lot of people in america who benefit
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and depend upon government services and the idea of just sort of making it smaller just for the sake of making it smaller appeals, i think, to folks who may have been in the a.v. and libertarian club in high school but that's not the way the world works and it's not the way i think most americans see the government. they don't like big government. they -- but they want the government to be active and provide a pretty healthy and robust social safety net. >> we're talking with david corn, washington bureau chief of "mother jones." how long has the magazine had a washington bureau and how long have you been chief? >> they started the bureau around 2007 and -- october 2007 i became the washington bureau chief. i used to work at "the nation" and i jumped at the chance to work with, at that point we probably had six people here, now we have 15 people in the washington bureau, 10 reporters, five editors.
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the editors also do some reporting and editing when so moved to. it seems to me to be one of the bigger bureaus in washington these days. host: and based in san francisco, is that correct? guest: the magazine and website are based in san francisco. host: how big is the bureau in san francisco? guest: altogether because we have an office in new york, one or two elsewhere, we have about 5 people on the staff altogether. it's about double the size of what it was five or six years ago. host: we're talking with david corn. if you want to talk to him, have questions or comments, give us a call. linda is waiting on our line for republicans from brandonton, florida. good morning. host: good morning -- caller: good morning, c-span. this is linda from bradenton, florida. host: go ahead. caller: first-time caller, longtime listener. i wanted to ask david corn here,
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he's the first one that ever came out and started calling bush a liar, george w. bush and he just kept saying, keep repeating that, keep repeating that until everybody just keeps calling him a liar. i'd like to ask david corn when he's going to start calling this president a liar because so many things, you know, benghazi, the n.s.a., the i.r.s., and now this whole health care bill is such a farce. it is a joke. guest: can you tell me what the president lied about when it comes to benghazi? caller: the first thing, we don't know what he was doing. guest: no, we're talking about lying. you said the president was lying about benghazi. can you give an example? caller: everybody covers for him. he doesn't have to answer for anything. all he ever does, he's out
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campaigning all the time and he's supposed to be a president. i'd like to ask you, why is he a president? he doesn't lead. he doesn't do anything. all he does is go out there and agitate people. he's a community agitator. he has divided this country and we don't want anything part of your leftist progressive views. host: let's give him a chance to respond. guest: well, i don't know how to respond to that. she wanted to talk about lying but she didn't have an example. if you want to get into this stuff, i think you need to be -- have some specifics. but she says the president doesn't do anything as the president. i suppose you can ask the auto industry if that's true. they don't believe he was leading on the bailout. or you can ask the folks who put together the mission that killed osama bin laden. i mean, there are things the president -- and any president can be criticized for but it seems to me what we see here is just a tremendous, tremendous
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hatred on the right for barack obama. so that people like linda, who i'm sure is speaking in good faith, can't really give us specifics. she just comes up with these wide-ranging critiques. but the president's not doing anything. that he's not a leader, that he's just out there campaigning. you can look at his schedule every day, it's on the internet, if you care to, and you can see the meetings he's doing and what he's working on and who he's talking to and putting together budgets, whatever you want. you may not like the president, you may not like his positions, you may not like what he's done to be not a o me productive argument to make the case that he just doesn't do anything. host: let me ask you, at "the washington post" this morning, their fact checker column was talking about the president's statements in the past, that if you like your health care plan, you'd be able to keep it. that comment itself getting four
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pino ceo 's this morning. talk about this issue the president has right now with some of his previous statements and what's happening right now with the health care plans. guest: when you make statements like that it makes it easier for people to come back later and say, hey, you were wrong. we've had a little coverage here, we have another story pending that probably will be out later today, is not, believe it or not, as simple as some of the president's critics would like to make it to be. a lot of these plans, if you know they were grandfathered in as they could be, they wouldn't be canceled. but insurance companies have the right to change plans and to cancel. maybe to offer you something better for a little bit more money or less money, maybe more money, but with a taxpayer subsidy. i think the president probably went too far rhetorically in
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talking that way but the big issue here is that because of the opposition in this country, you think the opposition to obamacare is strong, opposition to a single-payer plan, medicare for all, was even stronger politically. the president went ahead with a plan in which private insurance companies still are the major providers of health insurance in his country. they have the right to cancel policies and jack up prices and in some ways the president has married himself to the private health insurance industry, i think that's kind of unfortunate and it's going to continue to cause problems for him. but it's not, you know, it's not h.h.s. and others that are canceling these policies. it's the health insurance companies and they're trying to
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blame obamacare for it. host: let's go to tom now from heron, illinois, on our line for democrats. good morning. caller: good morning. hi, david. guest: hey, tom. caller: to go back a little bit to clinton, when he was in office. how much money did we have? guest: how much money did -- caller: surplulls. guest: yeah, well, we certainly had a surplulls. caller: $5.6 trillion, right? guest: that's the type of thing that i always look up before getting into numbers but if you have it in front of you, go ahead. caller: i don't have to have it in front of me. i've watched it. i've watched the republicans, i would never vote for republican. i vote straight democrat. but how much money did we waste in iraq for no reason? guest: listen, it's quite clear if republicans want to talk about deficits and debt and all
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that, you know, the wars in iraq and afghanistan are the biggest contributors to the debt and deficit because the george bush raised taxes to cover the cost of those wars. as any good fiscal conservative might do. no. he basically said to america, we can put these on our credit card and let other people pay for it and if this crowds out, you know, spending on food stamps, environmental protection, food safety, cancer research, oh, that's for somebody else to worry about down the road. maybe we can cut money from social security beneficiaries to pay for, you know, pay for these wars and the interest we racked up putting these wars on the credit card. so i think that's really -- go to the center for budget and policy parties, they have lots of charts that show that the wars in iraq and afghanistan are really the big drivers of the current deficits and national debt. yville, id is from mar
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indiana, on our line for independents. david, good morning. you're on with david corn. caller: i actually just wanted to make a few comments here. it kind of goes back to the tea party, though. but we can't -- i think we need to remember who made the tea party and it was from the republicans who actually, you know, wanted to block obama and just like block this, block that, and i think their far right agenda created a far right party. and when they lost control of it, you know, they all started pointing fingers at everybody lse. what the tea party about is about cutting.
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we're kind of going back to normal but i do want to actually make one point here. back in 2000 we had the interest billion.t $224 our u.s. national debt was $5.6 billion. today we are at -- i'm sorry, $5.6 trillion. and today we're at $17 trillion. and our interest on debt has only increased about $25 billion. there is not that much of an increase. guest: he is making a good point. right now, the tea party types
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are screaming about debt, debt, debt and the national deficit. i understand why in general it seems it is not good to have too much debt and it is not good to run deficits. although basically every household in america does. if you have a mortgage and you are paying it off over time or on student loans or car loans or putting anything on a credit card for onth-to-month. right now, interest rates are tremendously low, our economy is sluggish, it's a good time to be are owing money as long as you borrow it for the right money. if you borrow it to buy beer, it will not help you in the long run. it may be fun but if you borrow money to send a kid to school or to educate yourself in a way, to house your family, those are good, solid investments. if we are using money now, which we borrowed at a cheap rate,
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hopefully, we will not have another default or shut down that will raise rates which is tremendously negative impact on what ted cruz and others brought about. if you can borrow money now to rebuild the infrastructure of this country and invest in education, invest in basic science whether it is biomedical or other forms of science that would create jobs down the road, those are all good reasons to orrow. this tea party simplistic antagonism toward any form of debt or deficits is not only misplaced, it is foolhardy and you cannot be out there saying i am for jobs and at the same time ou strangle it of funding. the whole government shutdown by some estimates, cost $24 billion in economic activity. people lost jobs and paychecks and were not hired and we are still reeling from that. that is just not good policy.
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host: on the subject of the shutdown. communist dog rights -- writes in on twitter -- guest: thanks for writing in. i think right now there is absolutely no telling. as anybody who watches c-span knows, the news cycles just get quicker and quicker and shorter and shorter. we will have another government budget and debt ceiling fight or some episode engendering february. it may happen again in the summer or next fall or before the election. by and large, the government shut down drove everybody's numbers down but particularly republicans and they were lucky there was no election immediately after that. if they had, there might have been a slight chance that they would lose the house. it pushed them down to pretty low levels of approval in popularity.
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there is plenty of time and plenty of events we cannot foresee that will happen between ow and november 2014 that will make any prediction useless and the relevant. host: let's look ahead to 2016. guest: even better. host: you brought up the 47% story which won a george polk award. how will that story be remembered in relation to future elections? guest: i'm assuming everyone will be more careful about what they say. looking back at the video, once the dust settled, it struck me that why hasn't this happened before? we have had years of people running around and everybody has a video recorder, not everybody, but they have it in their pocket with their smartphones and yet nobody had really been caught in such a manner as mitt romney to that point.
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assume it will make candidates, when they get behind closed doors, a little more worried about telling people what they really think. i don't know if that is good or bad but hopefully, the more a candidate speaks more consistently behind closed doors and in front of closed doors, the better we will be. i tend to think that there will always be slipups. how many times have we had a candidate or public figure say something when a microphone was on and they did not realize it? it was another oops moment. it is human nature to forget that everything you say could, within moments, reach millions if not billions of people. host: do you hear from the bartender who supplied the video from that story? guest: yes, and scott outed
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himself last april as the source of this. he went on to get a pretty damn good job with the united steelworkers, working on international labor rights and labor conditions. he has traveled around the world now on a couple of trips to help investigate labor conditions and third world and developing, emerging economies. he is quite happy. often whistleblowers end up getting the short end of the stick. but he managed to parlay this into a job, last time i spoke to him, and he was over the moon about it. host: we are talking with david corn, the washington bureau chief of "mother jones." this follows a similar show we did earlier this month at the national review. here to talk with david corn is vita on our line for
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republicans. vita is from hayward, california. caller: good morning, welcome to the show. how do you feel about the corporate media and how they are dictating what is being said on the massive media outlets from able tv, from " meet the press," from "charlie rose" and pbs and "washington journal"? nobody is holding them accountable for the information they are putting out into the public atmosphere. the discourse is not coming from the politicians. it's coming from the media and the misinformation and stories they tell. they are not asking the questions they are supposed to be asking, the people they have on their shows. guest: thanks for the question. i know exactly where you are coming from. tend to have less a
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discouraged or discouraging perspective on mainstream media. in part because i know many people who work for the big outlets who i think are great reporters. i did a book called " hubris" about the selling of the iraq war with michael izikoff and is now the chief investigative reporter for nbc news and i am a fan of his work. reporters throughout cable networks, " the new york times" and " the washington post" roduce good stories. and on things that i know you care about, vita. overall, there are limitations to the mainstream media. i think they often are overly deferential to official sources, in some cases the president or republican leaders, congress, and they often cover things with a false equivalence that each
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side is equally correct and that they do not do what i think is the prime mission of journalism which is to tell people the truth, not just to tell people what others are saying. that sometimes means evaluating someone when they say something that is wrong or contradicted by the facts and doing so in an assertive, aggressive way. in some instances, corporate ownership plays a role in the media functions but often, it is other social norms for the media. they don't often want to be as confrontational and worry about taking off people on a beat so they don't get the inside story they need to get their stories on air to the paper. there is a lot of things out there. i think that more than any of the time in future, you ask about who keeps an eye on the media and how can they be
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checked, more than any time, we have the ability, whether it is " mother jones" or people at "the national review," because of the web now are able to get out there and say the media is blowing the story here and we think they don't have it right there and are able sometimes even to force changes or corrections but also, just be part of the debate. you can go on c-span and talk about a story from "the new york times" and come up with a different opinion or the way to shape the conversation that is ongoing about that particular story. think there is a lot of immediate reaction to social media on the left, right, and iddle. there are groups like thatheck.org and politfact are checking
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politicians and what people are saying in the media. put this altogether and i think think it's easier now than it has ever been for people out there, consumers, voters, to get good information. the downside is that there is a flood of information. we are constantly being bombarded with data and input. you have to be a good, savvy media consumer and those of us in the media have to be smart about finding ways to penetrate and cut through all the clutter out there and reach an audience we think with good information. host: what is your subscription numbers and online readership? guest: oh, oh, oh, i see what you're saying. the magazine -- i haven't checked recently but i think maybe we have 200,000 , maybe a little less in terms of circulation. the website -- "mother jones" started as a magazine but probably 75% of the
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copy we produce at the bureau goes right to the website. the website is a 24/7 news media operation. we are blended, a bimonthly magazine and a nano second news operation on the website. the website we are getting several million unique visitors per month. our traffic has gone up steadily over the course of the last year. the recent attention on things in washington like the shutdown on the debt ceiling pumps up our traffic. we feel like we are a major and i would say in some ways working within the mainstream media as well in terms of the impact we we have on the stories we cover. ost: 0 -- 501-c-3 is a non
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but you still accept advertising? guest: we do. our revenue comes from advertising in the magazine, advertising online, and donations. a lot of our donations come from subscribers, small donors we call them, who give on top of their subscription fee. then we have people who give more and we had a big fundraiser just the other week in san francisco where we auctioned off packages and raised probably a couple of hundred thousand dollars. we have a diversified stream of revenue which i think is really important of these days. it's a good model for the media. host: what does your advertising say about your readership? e just showed some ads and there is one for the 2014 wall calendar for cats against the bomb. there is a save the planet at green singles.
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guest: magazine advertising is different than online advertising. sometimes in online advertising, i will see something pop up for a conservative group like ann coulter's book. people who are looking for mainstream media consumers go to sites on the left, right, and the middle. the magazine, in some ways, the advertising is more targeted to people looking for a progressive udience and sometimes people come to us -- let's call them unconventional products -- that they think might appeal to some liberals. they come to us or "the nation magazine." host: ginger is waiting from atkins, minnesota, on our line for democrats, good morning. aller: good morning.
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mr. corn, i am very, very upset as an american with the shutdowns. the threat of the shutdown, then the actual shutdown. both of them. i do not see the tea party as negotiating. i see this as extortion. this last time, the american people paid the price tag of extortion. what i want to know is-do we have some legal system like the f.b.i. or whatever that's checking into this extortion? we have been extorted. guest: i don't think we can get john boehner mugshotted by the fbi on charges of extortion but your larger point is right. the tea party folks are a minority of the republican party but yet they are the tail that wags the dog.
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they do not believe in compromise. i go back to the story i put up this morning about ted cruz's father and the speeches he's given on behalf of his son at tea party republican events and he says we have had enough of compromise. we've had enough of established republicans, we don't want compromise. it seems to me that is not a fair reading of what the founders had in mind when they created our system. they created a system that is hard to pass legislation, a lot of checks and balances, but they did that purposely to make things slow but to force people to come together and work things out in a deliberative fashion. i don't think they envision people misusing the roles or the system to say no and if you don't do this my way, i will blow up the economy with a default or the debt crisis or throw people out of work, hundreds of thousands of people by having a government shutdown. this is new.
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this is a new tactic that has been brought about by a minority of the republican party and only ow are we seeing glimmers that other republicans, more reasonable republicans, some governors, some senators, are saying as much as we don't like a rock obama and we want to stick to and service of printable's, we don't buy into this hostage taking form of political terrorism. in the years ahead up to 2014 and 2016, we will see that this tension and the republican party, i call it a civil war, i think will just get worse. it will get exacerbated and the republican party will have to decide for itself if they are reasonable people who can compromise while adhering to onservative ideas or will they let the tea party hostage takers drag the economy into the ground and pever perhaps pull the republican party and the rest of
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us over that cliff. it's a metaphor but thank you. host: david horn is the washington bureau chief of "mother jones." thanks so much for joining us this morning. guest: thanks for having me. cred c.d. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> and here on c-span we're live at commerce department where there's select u.s.a. investment summit has been under way throughout the day. you heard from treasury secretary jack lew. coming up shortly we're going to hear from commerce secretary and the president will also speak and we will have that live for you in just a bit. should get start the shortly. we'll have it live here on c-span. on capitol hill today, senate blocked the nomination of mel watt to become the head of the federal housing finance agency. it was 56-42. that was the cloture vote. they needed 60 to move forward. jay carney at the white house briefing which is wrapping up now over at the white house says the white house is, quote, enormous -- the news was
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enormously disappointing. that's from jay carney. and a tweet just a short while ago from the assistant leader in the house, james clyburn saying, quote, i'm disappointed by the senate vote today on the watt nomination. senate's coming back in at 2:00 p.m. eastern and you can follow that coverage on c-span-2. while we wait for the president, we'll take you back to the news room of mother jones from this morning's "washington journal." host: what is dark money? guest: dark money is this term that we've used to describe the secret money that is flowing through our elections at the
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state, at the local and of ourse at the national level. we've seen an explosion of what we call dark money and it's this money where we don't know who the donors are. we don't know in many cases how the money is actually being spent. and so we have made it a priority of ours here and mine in particular to try to shine a light on this secret money that is having an incredible impact on our elections yet we know so little about where it's coming from and how it's shaping the debate in our campaigns and our politics. host: how do you go about doing your work for "mother jones"? how much of it is mining public databases vs. having documents given to you by sources? guest: it's an all-of-the-above approach, to be honest. if you really want to know
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anything about tax forms and 990's, i'm your guy. and how nonprofit organizations work and how superpacs work. using the federal elections commission, as well. so as you said, there's a lot of mining those sorts of information sources and there's a lot of information out there. also a lot of corporations tell us how they spend their political money, where they sort of hide it on a little link in their website and you have to know where to look and how to find it. so there's a lot of that out there. as you mentioned as well, there's also a lot of publishing, you know, a lot of work and getting your name out there and your email address out there and hoping that people who care about this issue, and they're out there, will send you information that you can't otherwise get. that you can't find in a database of nonprofit groups, you can't find on a corporation's website. and there's also a lot of building up a network of folks here in washington and elsewhere , sources who are entrenched in
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this stuff and who may not want their name attached to it but can kind of give you the lay of the land or give you some tips or insight as to how this whole money moving machine works today and this sort of cash-drenched postcitizens united world, if you will. host: do enough reporters today care about campaign finance and sort of follow the money issue? where do you think the state of journal. i is on that particular coverage front? -- journalism is on that particular coverage front? guest: there's two levels to this. there are a lot of great reporters here in washington who are covering this. folks at "politico," folks at national journal d. you have the center for public integrity, you have a lot of really good folks, friends of mine, competitors as well, who are around this beat. but where you don't see this kind of coverage and frankly where this money can have some of the biggest impact is at the state level. this is in state legislatures and state capitals around the
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country. i just came from back from a reporting trip in lansing, the capital of michigan, my home state, i mean, it was amazing to turn up some things and wonder how did the state, you know, press corps not figure this out or dig this up months and months ago when it happened? those groups of publications are decimated in many states and those follow the money stories aren't really being told. host: if you want to talk to andy kroll about some of his work, our phone lines are open. republicans can call 202-585-3881, democrats 202-585-3880, independents 202-585-3882. you can begin dialing in now. or post your comment on twitter or facebook or email us. but in the meantime, andy, want to point to the latest issue of "mother jones." your story is the triumph of the drill. tell us about this story.
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] -- guest: this story came out of an idea of this you have oil companies that are some of the wealthiest corporations in the world, recording some of the largest profits in the history of corporations, and at the same time they're receiving these really generous tax breaks and subsidies and other kind of perks totaling many billions of dollars from the federal government. and it just doesn't make sense. why do they need that when they have all the money in the world? more money than they can count, more money than they know what to do with. that was the premise of the piece and it was digging into, ok, what are the ways that they preserve what they have? what are the ways that they got these breaks? how do they keep them? what are they worth? what's the history, the piece is sort of a visual spread. it veers from actual basic numbers about these tax breaks and who gets them to conspiracy theories about like how oil subsidies might have had a role in the assassination of john f. kennedy. it goes all over the place.
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the core question of, it's matter of influence and politics and how does the oil industry keep these seemingly unjustifiable tax breaks alive? host: a few of the numbers from that story, from the charts with your story, the estimated annual tax breakses for the big five oil companies, chevron, about $700 million, exxonmobil, $600 million, conoco phillips, $600 million, b.p., $300 million. shell, $200 million. and plenty of other charts throughout your story there. want to bring in vanessa now from washington, d.c., calling on our line for republicans. vanessa, we're talking with andy kroll, the dark money reporter for "mother jones." thanks for joining us. i think we lost vanessa. we'll go to mark this morning. good morning. caller: good morning, guys. i like the host and, andy, i love your level of enthusiasm
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for seeking out the truth. i'm so old i shook john kennedy's hand as a child and i campaigned for bobby after john was shot and i grew up in a lucky household that listened to martin luther king speeches live the first time. i also at age 18 voted for president carter as a young marine and i couldn't wait to get on embassy dutyy. i was stationed in japan. i do have a question for andy. wanted to give a background, establish some bottom feedings for the listeners about myself, as a young marine i couldn't wait to get on embassy duty and once i got on embassy duty i ended up in central america in 1978. in honduras understand frand there i ended up in argentina. i learned so much about the world and our domestic economy and what andy talked about actually ties all of this in together. confessions of an economic hitman by john perkins is another great book and i'm sure andy's familiar with john
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perkins. host: what's your question? caller: my question is, i just want to compliment them because their open sources, and do i have the questions here, their open sources with "mother jones" is so excellent. it's like i'm still on embassy duty and listening to c.i.a. agents that teach people what's going on. but my question for andy is, if he could -- what he might know concerning dark money and the connections to the reagan administration, main capital and the he will valve dorian plantation and death squads and mitt romney was warned not to do business with these people and that's how the creation got completed, so they could prevent people from making a living wage by killing union workers like myself and college students in land america so we could have cheap towels atwal matter. host: something you've looked into at all? guest: i can't say that i've looked into that subject before. i mean, to pull a piece i guess out of what mark had to say
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there, he mentioned mitt romney and bain capital. i think about the 2012 presidential campaign and this is really an election when we saw this issue of dark money and superpacs. a flood of outside money into our elections and it was a fascinating period to be a reporter on this beat because i think since the first time really since watergate, when we got our -- the scandal that led to the laws we have today in large part, we just saw the money pouring in a completely unprecedented way. it's only going to get bigger or worse, if you don't think that's how it should be in 2014, and especially 2016. host: let's go to matt now from plano, texas. our line for independents. good morning, you're on with ndy kroll. caller: thank you for taking my call. i wamented to ask, correct me if i'm wrong, but the stop act. i do not think it passed
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congress. i think -- is that correct? guest: i think what we ended up with was a neutered version of it in which it did not cover congressional staff or at least that was the latest and that was the most important parts of the advocates. caller: it doesn't surprise me. i remember hearing stories about -- [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> good afternoon, everyone. i hope you're having a good time and making the connections that can help your businesses grow. it is such a privilege for me to introduce our next speaker, president barack obama. i am proud to call him our president and i am honored to call him a dear friend. simply put, the united states has been very lucky to have president obama as our commander in chief for the last five
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years. in my 27 years in business, i have seen the qualities that make a great leader. president obama has all of them. he's a builder, he has sound judgment, he has integrity, he sets clear direction, he listens, he inspires and most of all he acts decisively to support solutions that the american people need and solutions that help businesses grow and hire. i've been with the president in countless meetings. he often asks the question, how can government better partner with the private sector to grow our economy and create jobs? regardless of the economic problem, he drives solutions that resolve challenges. he understood the need to make sure our banking system was well capitalized and an engine of
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growth. so he took action to set us on a dation.ound he understood there was insufficient financing for startups, so he passed the jobs act. he understood that 95% of customers live outside our borders, so he created the national export initiative, which helped the united states reach a record $2.2 trillion in exports last year. i understood the trade agreements help more american-made goods reach global markets. so he's rolled out three new trade pa.c.s. and has us working to complete the transpacific partnership and the transatlantic trade and investment partnership. he yunald the need for american businesses to have a stronger digital -- he understood the need for american businesses to have a stronger digital infrastructure so he added 100,000 miles of broadband. he understood that our commoo economy is based on idea -- that our economy is based on ideas so we strengthened our patent
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system to support more american innovators with the america invents act. and he knew that people from around the world come to our country to do business and have fun. so he launched the national travel and tourism strategy to bring millions more visitors to the united states. and today he understands the united states is where global businesses want to be. with our educated work force, ur low-energy costs, our abundant energy, our stable financial markets, our rule of law, strong intellectual property protection and so much more. that's why he launched the select u.s.a. program. the first ever federal effort to welcome additional investment to the united states. we've been very busy ever since, supporting both investors and economic development leaders as we make deals worth -- as they
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make deals worth millions and even billions of dollars. we at the commerce department are horned to run this program that welcomes your investment and is helping create jobs. ladies and gentlemen, america is open for business. open for your business. president obama and i could not be more supportive of the investments you have made and will make here in the united states. please join me in welcoming my friend, the 44th president of the united states, barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you. please have a seat. to my great friend, penny, thank you for the kind words, but more importantly, thank you for your outstanding leadership, for
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bringing us all together today and being such a strong voice for america's workers and america's businesses. i want to acknowledge acting deputy secretary patrick gallager, undersecretary francisco sanchez and their team at select u.s.a. and i want to especially thank all of you. state and local officials from across the country and business leaders from around the world. as president, i have gone all over the world to go to bat for american exports and american workers. i've been to many of your countries and i've said that when we do business together and when we trade and forge new partnerships, it's good for all of us. i want more american products being sold in your countries. and i want your companies investing more here in the united states of america. because it advances my top priority as president, creating
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good-paying american jobs and strengthening and broadening our middle class. there's nothing more important right now. and i'm here because i want your companies to know, i want companies around the world to know, that i believe there is no better place in the world to do business than the united states of america. think about it. globalization and technology means you can go just about anywhere. but there are a whole lot of reasons you ought to come here. we're not just the world's largest market. we're growing. thanks to the grit and resilience of the american people, we've cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis and over the past 3 1/2 years our businesses have created more than 7 1/2 million new jobs. thanks to the tough decisions we've made to tackle our long-term challenges, america's becoming more competitive from a
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business standpoint. we're reforming a broken health care system and as a consequence health care costs are rising at their slowest rate in 50 years. we've cut our deficits by more than half since i took office and they keep going down. we've pursued an all-of-the-above energy strategy and we are producing more traditional energy, more renewable energy than ever before, more natural gas than anyone in the world, and we have our carbon pollution in the process. so while the case for doing business in america's always been strong, we've made it stronger. and of course you will find no better workers than american workers. our productivity is rising. we have the world's best universities. its most innovative entrepreneurs. we have its strongest intellectual property protections, to go along with a
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rule of law that matches up with anyone. and thanks in part to a new initiative focused on exports and the new trade agreements that i've signed, we sell more products made in america to the rest of the world after thaten -- than ever before. so as you've heard repeatedly today and you will hear undoubtedly after i leave this stage, america is open for business. and businesses have responded. after a decade in which many jobs left the united states to go overseas, now we're seeing companies starting to bring jobs back because they're seeing the advantages of being located here. caterpillar is bringing jobs back from japan. ford is bringing jobs back from mexico. after locating plants in other countries like china, intel's opening their most advanced plant right here in the united states.
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and the whole range of factors involved, people are looking at lower energy costs here, they're looking at stability, they're looking at the increased productivity on workers, all these things are adding up. and people are saying, why would we want to be outside the world's largest market when we can get our products made effectively here and there's a great platform from which we can export all around the world? and it's not just companies based in the united states. honda's banking on america by expanding production operations in ohio and alabama and indiana and today more hondas are made in america than anyplace else in the world. samsung's betting on america by revamping their plant in austin, texas. a $4 billion investment. see mns -- siemens is betting on america by hiring hundreds of new workers in north carolina and putting $50 million a year
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into training its u.s. work force. and that's the kind of investment that we've always welcomed as a nation, but the reason for select u.s.a. is we know we can do more. we know we can be better. so two years ago i acted on a recommendation from the c.e.o.'s on my jobs council and we created select u.s.a. to encourage more foreign companies to invest and create jobs right here in the united states. and we've shown that this works. as penny mentioned earlier this morning, with help from select u.s.a., the austrian company is creating 220 jobs in an auto parts plant in cartersville, georgia. bombadear company is investing more than $600 million to expand its jet facility in wichita, kansas. a belgian company that makes
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high-tech aircraft parts reopened a shuttered factory in stillwater, oklahoma, and they're expected to create 3380 good jobs by the end of -- 380 good jobs by the end of 2015 and the list goes on. and i want to see even more of these success stories totaled -- told across this country. which means i want to make sure we are doing everything we can so companies like yours want to set up shop here in the united states. and for all the u.s. states and cities who are represented here today, we want to provide you with the tools you need to close those deals and create those jobs. so that's why today i'm proud to announce that i'm expanding and enhancing select u.s.a. to create the first ever fully coordinated u.s. government effort to recruit businesses to invest and create new jobs in the united states. [applause]
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to do that i'm taking four new steps to bring more good jobs to our shores. first, building on the great work that our diplomats and embassies do every day, i'm making attractive for investment a formal part of our portfolio for our ambassadors and their teams around the world. i meet with staffs wherever i go, all of them are great ambassadors for america and they're building bridges and connections every day. well, i want them doing even more to help foreign companies cross those bridges and come here. and as they take on this expanded economic mission overseas, we'll make sure that they've got the support that they need here at home. which brings me to the second point. officials at the highest levels, up to and including me, are going to do even more to make the case for investing in america. i already do this everywhere i go around the world, in public and private. i joke with a few american
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companies that i will deserve at least a gold watch at the end of my tenure from them. [laughter] i've racked up some pretty good sales. [laughter] but as a country we don't always make our case in a coordinated way that links our teams overseas to the right senior officials in washington. and we're going to change that. make our advocacy more efficient and more effective and more connected so that businesses who are making decisions about where to invest are getting timely answers and know that they're going to have all the help that they need. number three, we'll make sure that for the first time companies who want to do business in america have a single point of contact at the federal level to cut through red tape. we're going to help you navigate national, state and local rules and regulations so that you can invest faster, open facilities faster, create jobs faster.
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and, finally, we'll help states, cities, regions across america up their game by giving them more tools they need to compete. from the latest research and analysis, to events that link them directly with potential investors. this is a big country. and for a lot of foreign investors, it may be sometimes hard to navigate and figure out how to -- what exactly is going to fit the needs of your company. well, we can help you do that and we can help make sure that state and local governments and regional offices, they're best equipped to make their case and we can get a good fit that's good for the company and good for those communities. so, the new focus at our embassies and on attracting investment, more outreach from washington, coordinated advocacy , to bring more jobs here, new ways to cut through red tape and new tools for state and local
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leaders. that's what an expanded select u.s.a. will mean for businesses and for our partners in u.s. states and cities. and ultimately i believe that will translate into more good middle class jobs for america. my number one priority. i will be asking congress to do its part. a lot of this is coordination. it's not necessary to spend a lot of money, it's important for us to do what we do more wisely. but making america even more attractive to investment should be something that everybody can agree on. democrats and republicans. we've got to work together to get that done. at the macro level that means getting beyond gridlock and some of the manufactured crisis that we've seen come out of washington. because i assume if you ask any c.e.o. here if shutting down the government makes them more confident about wanting to bring jobs to america, the answer will probably be no. the notion of not paying our
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bills on time doesn't inspire confidence. so it's time for congress to focus on what the american people are focused on and what i'm focused on which is creating good jobs that pay good wages and creating a good environment for investment. we do need to fully fund the select u.s.a. program so that more middle class folks have a chance to earn a decent living. we need to make sure that we are resourcesing -- resourcing the efforts to make sure that our workers can earn the skills that they need to compete in the global economy. we've got -- you know, one of the crown jewels of our education system is our community college system. not everybody's going to be training at m.i.t. or stanford. but these community colleges means that we can partner with businesses, help defray some of the training costs, help design with businesses what exactly they're going to need in terms of people getting hired.
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and we've got the resources to do it, we know how to do it but we're going to make sure congress is supportive of that. we've got to fix a broken immigration system. so that we are welcoming mortalent to workers and entrepreneurs from around the world and so if companies are coming here to locate and they've got a key individual that they need to bring over to make sure that the company's doing what it needs to do, that it's not a tangle of red tape. and the good news is we know we've got bipartisan support for immigration reform. we just have to make sure we get it done this year. we've got to continue to make smart investments in research and development. education. infrastructure. all the things that historically have made america the most attractive place on the planet for businesses to invest. we've got to build on that success. that's who we are as a country. and we have a tradition here of tackling new challenges, adapting to new circumstances, seizing new opportunities.
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that's one of the reasons that history shows over the last two centuries that when you bet on america, that bet pays off. so, to all the business leaders here today and around the world, we want to be your partner in helping to write the next chapter in our history. we want you to join the generations of immigrants and entrepreneurs and foreign investors who have discovered exactly what it means when we say we are the land of opportunity. that is not a myth. t's a proven fact. there are a lot of wonderful countries out there. but this is a place where you can do business, create great products, deliver great services , make money and do good at the same time. so you should find out why there's no substitute for those
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proud words, made in america. and here's three more words. select the u.s.a. when you do, you'll find some of the world's best workers, some of the world's most innovative entrepreneurs, you'll find a government and a president who's committed to helping you create more good jobs. for the middle class and helping you succeed well into the 21st century. we are open for business. and we're looking forward to partnering with all of you in the months and years ahead. thank you very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, at this time the panel sessions will
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begin shortly. proceed to one of the panel discussions listed in your program. >> and we will have more for from you the investment summit in just a bit here on c-span. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] want to let you knoll some news from capitol hill. the senate today blocking the nomination of mel watt. "politico" reporting on it. s blocking the nomination of the former representative to be the regulator of taxpayer on mortgage companies fannie mae and freddie mac. despite a renewed effort by the administration to pressure g.o.p. senators to get behind president obama's choice to lead the federal housing and finance agency. the senate also blocked patrigsa millett to be a judge. the senate is back shortly, 2:00 p.m. eastern. you can follow that on c-span 2. up next we'll take you back to the commerce summits, the investment summit at the commerce department from earlier
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today. black rock c.e.o. said the u.s. is well positioned to attract business investment. but he criticized washington citing the recent dispute over raising the debt ceiling. and shutting down the government. also on this panel, the c.e.o.'s of wal-mart, u.s. and dow chemical. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. secretary lew, secretary pritzker, thank you so much for your very excellent remarks. and i want to thank both of them for their leadership. they have been outstanding, particularly for the subject matter that we have before us these next two days. i know that their insights, particularly as it applies to the business community, are very valuable to all of us that are joining us today. we're off to a great start to what promises to be a great conference with a packed agenda.
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thanks to all of you who have come great distances to be with us today. i am very pleased to announce our first panel, which is entitled "why select the u.s.a.?" perspectives on investing and operating in the united states. this is going to be a very informative and valuable discussion and it is also my pleasure to introduce the moderator of this panel, an important member of president obama's white house team, valerie jarrett is a senior advisor to the president and a long-time confidant of the president. she oversees the office of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs and chairs the white house council on women and girls. prior to joining the obama administration, she was the chief executive officer of the habitat company. valerie has held positions in both the public and private sectors and hails from chicago
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before coming to washington, d.c. ladies and gentlemen, please ve a warm welcome to valerie jarrett. [applause] >> well, good morning, everybody. you look fantastic out there. we are also delighted to be here. i would like to begin by congratulating secretary pritzker who has hit the ground running since her appointment. she has not only traveled around the world, but she gave a party and everyone showed up. i also want to give credit to former secretary gary locke who was the